Archive for Styczeń, 2014

Online retailers face strict new security rules

By admin, 22 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

An online business must be able to accept credit card payments if it’s going to be successful – but the security rules for being able to do so are being tightened. Fortunately, says Peter Harvey of payment services provider PayGate, staying on the right side of the security fence need not be onerous.

“The trendsetters in this space are the global card associations like Visa and Mastercard,” says Harvey. “Their first priority is to protect their own customers, the credit card holders, from any financial loss if their card data is stolen or hacked. If a card holder disputes a transaction they can get a refund – and the merchant who passed the transaction is the one who pays.”

But the card associations can’t rely only on chargebacks, adds Harvey: “If it gets too risky for merchants to accept credit cards, card holders will lose out on the convenience of online shopping. So the card associations have developed a set of security standards to benefit everyone in the industry, by protecting card data properly so it can’t be used fraudulently.”

The Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI-DSS) specifies a broad range of business practices and processes that should be in place at any organisation that processes, stores or transmits credit card data. The data that’s protected includes the credit card number, the card-holder’s name, the card expiry data and the CVV number or security code on the back of the card.

If any of this data falls into the wrong hands through a security leak, explains Harvey, the responsible organisations face hefty fines – and the risk that their banks might stop them from processing any more transactions. “This could sink an online business overnight,” he says.

Achieving full compliance with the PCI standards is an onerous and expensive process, says Harvey – but online merchants have a way out. “The very best thing you can do as a merchant is not to process or store any card data at all,” he says. “The easiest way to do that is to have a hosted payment page with a payment services provider which is itself fully PCI-compliant. That means none of the customer’s card data ever touches your systems – it’s all handled by the gateway, and the compliance problem is theirs.”

If merchants must store card data themselves, he says, they should use tokenisation. “This is a system for replacing actual card numbers with secure tokens that get validated at every transaction. This reduces the number of places any person’s card details are stored, which makes it easier to secure.”

In addition, says Harvey, merchants should use fraud monitoring services to help identify suspicious transactions before they’re processed.

“Maintaining card data security in compliance with the PCI standards is increasingly going to be a condition of doing business online,” says Harvey. “Merchants should approach their payment gateways to find out exactly how they are affected and what steps they should take to protect their business.”

Five kinds of customers and how to read their minds

By admin, 22 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

By Aneesh Reddy, CEO of Capillary Technologies

Here’s a question for all small business owners:

Wouldn’t it be nice to be a psychic, just for one day? To have the opportunity to peer inside the mind of employees, prospects and clients so you could exactly how to grow your customer base?

Good news: you almost can. As long as you know what kind of customer you are addressing, you can determine what is most valuable to them and use that knowledge to your advantage.
And the “kind of customer you are addressing” isn’t just some abstract idea about the general attitudes of customers. It’s an exact set of divisions among the customers who buy from you, complete with an exact strategy to match each division. Simply put, there are five core customer types. Let’s get to know them.

1. New Customers

New customers are the people who have just discovered your business. They are open to potential acquisition as customers, but you must sell them on the idea first. New customers must be sold on the idea of your business.

What New Customers Want: New customers, like all customers, want to be treated well. While all businesses are different, a new customer must be incentivized to become involved with your business. Use either a strong value proposition or a basic incentive to bring new customers to your doorstep.

2. Active Customers

Active customers have undergone the acquisition phase. They buy from you on some semi-regular basis. If you have a brick and mortar store, you or your employees may even begin to recognize them by face.

What Active Customers Want: Aside from continued good service, active customers want to be given a reason to stay with the company. Active customers may be willing to switch to your competitors if they are given the opportunity. Make no mistake; they are at an active part of your sales funnel and are open to either upgrade or lapse. Fortunately for you, every customer wants to be loyal to someone. Win their trust. Romance them. Find a way to turn your active customers into loyal ones who buy from you and only you, at least when they have the chance.

3. Loyal Customers

Loyal customers are the customers who have been upgraded from active to evangelical. You must have done a great job with these folks, because they serve as a big chunk of your yearly revenue.

What Loyal Customers Want: If you have loyal customers, then you already know what they want: great service and the opportunity to have their desires met by your business. Reward and nurture these customers with excellent arrangements to keep them in your camp. Incentivize them. Offer them deals. Think about interesting ways to get them involved with your company.

4. Lapsed Customers

Lapsed customers have left your camp for one reason or another. It could be that they just don’t have enough time to go to your movie theater or that the last haircut you gave them didn’t turn out right. Whatever the reason, they aren’t actively buying your stuff.

What Lapsed Customers Want: Lapsed customers want to be swept of their feet. They need to be wooed back, and everything about how you approach them- from your message to your channel to timing and more- should be arranged to reflect that. At the same time, you want to prevent them from becoming dormant customers. Win back lapsed customers before they stop purchasing.

5. Dormant Customers

What did you do?!? Dormant customers once bought from you, but no longer do. They are non-factors in future forecasts because it has been so long since they purchased your product. You must have upset them, right? Dormant customers may be the ones who had such a bad experience such a long time ago that they may not want to return. Or perhaps they just no longer have a need for your product because of a change in life circumstances. Whatever the case, it’s your job to win back as many as you can.

What Dormant Customers Want: They want a reason to return to your company that surpasses something negative that REALLY happened a long time ago. Sometimes, you have to go to extreme lengths to get them back. But other times, if you are really lucky, you will notice there is something you can change about your sales process that will bring them back to your camp without breaking your back.

Have you considered the differentiating needs of your customers lately? It’s time to stop treating every customer the same… and start reading their minds.

Facebook WiFi on Netgear routers allow businesses to offer free Internet access

By admin, 22 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

Facebook WiFi will soon be available to South African businesses using Netgear’s next-generation wireless routers in their network infrastructures. This is according to Armand Steffens, Africa manager of Netgear, who says it follows the teaming up of Netgear with Facebook to deliver an application that allows free Internet access for customers when they ‘check in’ at the business’ Facebook page.

“Netgear is making the Facebook Wi-Fi login available on its latest routers supporting dual-band 802.11ac wireless networking technology,” says Steffens. “Business owners will be able to effectively turn their Netgear 802.11ac router into a free wireless hotspot, enabling customers and other visitors to access the Internet.”

This capability will enable companies to build closer relationships with customers by sharing offers and announcements directly from their Facebook page, says Andy Robb, chief technology officer at Duxbury Networking, a distributor of Netgear products in South Africa.

“The move is designed to encourage businesses to develop stronger bonds with their customers and extend brand visibility with each check-in that appears in Facebook’s news feed.”

Robb says configuring the Netgear 802.11ac router for Facebook Wi-Fi is a simple process. “Upon first connecting to the router’s wireless signal, customers, guests and visitors will land directly on the company’s Facebook page, where they will be asked to check in and have the option to ‘like’ the page before they begin using the Internet.

“No special codes are needed, and the customer will have the option to automatically check in for free WiFi on return visits. This means businesses can continue to reach their customers with future posts, announcements, coupons and other news. Businesses can also share special promotions on their Facebook page so the offers are the first messages customers see when they check in,” he adds.

Netgear is currently poised to roll out Facebook Wi-Fi capability on four of its next-generation dual-band 802.11ac wireless routers; the Nighthawk R7000 router, the R6250 Smart Wi-Fi router, the R6200 Wi-Fi router, and the R6300 Smart Wi-Fi router.

Cape Town gets ready for the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference and Unity Jam 2014

By admin, 19 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

“Pioneering and growing the African music industry”

Following the huge success of 2013’s inaugural event, the second Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference will catapult the nation’s music into the spotlight in February 2014.

This year’s event is set to give back even more in the way of empowerment, inspiration and interactive learning, with a brand-new Unity Jam event to be held in the township of Langa on the final day of the event.

Powered by Black Mango, the event brings together a wide range of artists, producers and leaders across the music industry with the aim of building and unifying the industry. International reggae superstar, Gentleman from Germany will be taking part in the conference and will also be performing for the first time in South Africa at the Unity Jam, as part of an African tour schedule organised by the Goethe-Institut. The multi award winning artist has been spreading his reggae music across the globe with his shows and is now one of the biggest international reggae headliners in the world.

This year the conference is supported by a sizable German contingent and will include Gentleman’s manager, Volker May (Germany) – Vice President of IMMF (International Music Manager Forum Europe), Hannah Kupfer (Minus Records – Ritchie Hawtin’s label) as well as Detlef Schwarte – Co-Founder of Reeperbahn Festival in Hamburg and Director Reeperbahn Festival Conference in Hamburg.

Reeperbahn is now the largest event of its kind in Europe and their visit to the conference will further cement the strategic partnership that the two conferences share. As part of the on going relationship, Black Mango will be hosting a South African panel and a live showcase at Reeperbahn at the end of 2014.

Gentleman’s and Volker May’s trip is being supported by the German cultural body the Goethe-Institut and with Germany now being the biggest music market in Europe, the
German presence at the conference will go a long way to further support an already growing interest in South African music.

This year’s conference also sees the addition of Breathe Sunshine Connect, a part of the conference dedicated to the digital space. Headed up by African Dope Records founder Roach Roth, Connect brings together the sharpest minds in the digital media world and music industry to explore the current landscape and how the industry can better leverage the space for success.

International charity Bridges for Music will host a space on electronic music. There will also be live technical demos along with exclusive invite-only Producer Pow-Wow sessions that offer one-on-one networking between township and city producers.

A snap-shot of other highlights to expect from the 2014 Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference includes the following:

Panels: Music and Causes/Charities, Digital Marketing, Touring in Africa, The Future of Radio in Africa, The Future of Rock Music in SA, Brands and Music – selling out or buying in?

Empower Your Art Workshops: Understanding Intellectual Property Rights, Principles of Artist Management, Event Licensing and Insurance – Working with City Councils, How to Network – Your Network is Your Net Worth

Bridges For Music Electronic Sessions: DJ Master Class, Producing on Reason / Ableton, Playing Live, Setting up Your Home EDM Studio

Breathe Visuals: Video workshops, VJing workshops

As the countdown to the second of what will hopefully be many other events, the Breathe Sunshine African Music Conference 2014 aims to unite the rich diversity of talents from across the continent, in search of a greater future for all.

Tickets are available directly from http://breathesunshineconference.com/, with times and additional event details yet to be confirmed.

F5’s partner ecosystem supports new synthesis architectural vision

By admin, 16 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

F5 Networks (NASDAQ: FFIV) announced today partner support for its new Synthesis architectural vision. Additional details around F5 Synthesis are found in a separate press release. F5 maintains a thriving community of sales and technology partners, and Synthesis promotes new integration points for companies to collaborate with F5, with the result being more flexible, unified solutions comprising many vendors’ offerings. F5’s open architecture gives partners a strong foundation to deliver value-added IT services and better meet the evolving needs of enterprise and service provider organizations.

F5 Synthesis features elements that have been specifically designed to resonate within F5’s partner ecosystem and help customers take advantage of:

High-Performance Fabric to Support IT Services

F5’s physical and virtual products form an elastic, multi-tenant fabric to deliver software defined application services (SDAS). This extensible approach enables organisations to combine solutions from F5, its technology partners, and other third-party vendors to support evolving business needs. The F5 Synthesis fabric can support up to 1.28 million instances in a combination of administrative domains and virtual instances by clustering up to 32 unique F5 platforms deployed across any combination of hardware, software, or cloud resources, resulting in a combined throughput of 20.5 TB and connection capacity of 9.2 billion. Unified management enables the automated discovery, topology, and provisioning of the services fabric, reducing the operational overhead associated with manual processes.

Intelligent Services Orchestration

Beyond just combining disparate technologies, F5’s architectural vision enables enterprises and service providers to seamlessly manage, scale, and automate the richest set of application services spanning device, network, and application requirements for reliability, security, and performance. This helps customers configure infrastructures for cost savings, while maintaining the ability to further programmatically extend and adapt systems, and rapidly deploy new services as needed.

Simplified Business Models

To better support customers’ ability to deploy flexible services with cloud, hybrid, and usage-based IT models, F5 is optimising its licensing practices. Looking forward, F5 will examine additional opportunities to address customers’ changing preferences around how data center environments—including software defined data centers—are maintained.

The Synthesis framework for SDAS provides an open architecture based on standard APIs that allows partners to leverage a high-performance fabric to deliver a rich set of application services that complement their go-to-market solutions. This approach enhances partners’ ability to collaborate with F5 around specific industry focus areas and technologies, including:

Cloud

Cloud providers are enabled with the richest set of application services available to differentiate their offerings from competitors. Taking advantage of F5 Synthesis’ programmability enables providers to easily incorporate advanced delivery services into their own service catalogs. Customers benefit from the ability to consistently apply the same policies and services to applications deployed in both their own data center and the provider’s cloud environment.

Software Defined Networks

SDN technology partners gain the ability to collaboratively inject the essential layer 4-7 services needed to accomplish automated provisioning and orchestration of the network service stack. The result for customers is a comprehensive, software defined approach to delivering network and application services across data center and cloud environments.

Security 

SDAS include a wide variety of security services, from authentication to identity and access control to DDoS mitigation and web application security. The availability of these services enhances partners’ capabilities to provide protection against an increasing volume of attacks aimed at applications, the network, and end-user devices.

A look underneath the UHD TV hood

By admin, 16 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

Unpacking UHD Technology

The arrival of Ultra High Definition (UHD) TV into the South African market is starting a wave of change in what consumers expect from their TV sets, with these immersive displays presenting an even more compelling offering with regards to picture quality.

UHD equates to 4K* resolution which roughly translates to four times more pixels respectively than the current 1080p HD TV content. In fact, current industry predictions suggest that the television industry is likely to use 4K as the standard** – however, with mass adoption of UHD yet to take place, this may yet change.

Hollywood, a leader in pushing ultimate picture quality, has already started filming blockbusters and major TV shows in UHD and this will no doubt gain pace. That said, while TV stations in South Africa are increasingly adopting HD channels and broadcasts, one HD stream on pay TV equals the size of approximately four standard definition channels, so it may be some time before UHD reaches the mass market.

“While pure UHD content may not be available to all consumers currently, innovative ways to upscale content are already being made possible. The Samsung F9000 UHD TV range features the Samsung Quadmatic Picture engine that is able to upscale all content on the fly. This means that irrespective of whether the user is watching standard definition, HD, or full HD content, the engine is able to take the source image, eliminate visual noise, improve the detail and sharpness and turn it into UHD resolution. For those who love watching fantasy or science fiction movies with the latest in special effects, the Samsung F9000 range will turn the living room into their very own Starship Enterprise,” says Lance Berger, Head of Product Marketing TV/AV at Samsung Electronics South Africa.

“Consumers who wish to own the latest technology can rest assured that buying a Samsung F9000 UHD TV now will not mean their technology will become outdated in a few years’ time. Samsung has introduced the Evolution Kit which enables owners to easily upgrade their existing UHD TV models to the agreed global standard, once it becomes available. The Evolution Kit is simply attached to the back of the TV to transform it to the latest version, says Berger.

“In addition, hardware enhancements mean that the interactive TV experience has been improved by allowing viewers to enjoy faster speeds while browsing the Internet and multi-task by accessing apps whilst watching TV. In addition, features have also improved as a result, such as Samsung’s Smart Interaction i.e. voice control and motion control,” adds Berger.

“The Samsung UHD TV range presents the ability to view entertainment on a whole new level. No longer are there concerns about picture quality – with UHD and the innovative Samsung up-scaling technology, all content becomes an immersive experience,” concludes Berger.

You already know the killer app for your business

By admin, 16 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

Maciej Granicki at Gijima Holdings

“There’s an app for that”

Not a day goes by without hearing those words. The world is going mobile; everything is becoming easier to access – whenever and wherever. Consumers are spoilt for choice and are exposed to great quality apps. Your employees are also consumers, and they expect great business apps from you.

Imagine your company has decided to embrace mobility, has implemented a mobile device management (MDM) suite and wants business apps to mobilise the workforce… what do you need to consider when identifying that killer app for your business?

1. Underlying business processes.

Apps offer a great opportunity to simplify cumbersome or out-dated business processes. But don’t just mobilise verbatim. Ask what problems the process should solve and, if it’s still valid, then select the best way to mobilise the process. Don’t keep processes in place to solve problems that don’t exist anymore. Get rid of processes that simply waste time; make things easier for customers and clients. Don’t replicate a bad process on the mobile platform. Whichever process you choose, it needs to be measureable and have an underlying business case for mobilisation. Airlines handed out iPads to pilots in order to cut costs on fuel by eliminating the weight of the manuals the pilots had to bring on board; naturally there were many more benefits like ease of use and improved accuracy but there was always a key measureable underlying business case.

2. Platform and operating system choice.

If your organisation is supplying the device the app will run on, then then the choice can be narrowed to the most suitable device for the business function. Battery life, form factor, price, data storage and processor speed could determine success or failure of an app. The next decision is between tablets or phones, bearing in mind that users’ expectations of apps and their features differ between the two formats. Phones usually fill moments of need and are typically used between 5 and 7 minutes at a time; on the other hand tablets are used for longer periods of time but not necessarily as often. This decision should not simply be a cost exercise, as the wrong choice could result in low adoption and initiative failure.

3. Understand users and their needs.

In order for the app to be successful you need to understand users and their expectations. This is challenging because users are not always IT savvy and can struggle to articulate their needs and wants. Agile methodologies and mock-ups help a great deal to build apps to align with users’ expectations; involving them in the process early on reduces the risk of failure as you’ll have their support and buy-in.

4. Adopt a ‘Human First’ approach.

Don’t focus on what your legacy systems do – they restrict what is possible. This approach fails in mobility because users are exposed to high quality, publicly available apps and expect the same or better from you. Rather concentrate on what users want the app to do, in a way that enables them to do their job better.

5. Leverage new technologies and information.

Remember that with mobile you have a whole lot of new features – GPS, camera, microphone, touch screen, accelerometer – and information available. Location-based information, for example, can be very powerful. A view of stock inventory in real time on a map can assist with demand delivery and manage expectations of your customers. Being able to offer your users what they need before they need it is possible through real-time predictive analytics.

6. Keep it simple.

Keeping the app simple does not mean that the backend services won’t be complex; it just means they will be hidden from users. Most successful apps do one thing but they do it extremely well; do not overcomplicate it. If it starts to feel cumbersome and complicated, consider splitting the app into smaller, separate apps.

7. In-house vs. outsourced.

App building needs to be a quick, iterative process and, with the ever-changing landscape, developing apps is a full-time business. As soon as the app is complete it will need updates – users will want more features and the OEM will upgrade the operating system forcing app redevelopment and testing. Ask yourself if you are a development house. Does it make sense for you to try to become one or should you stick to what you do best? Even in this relatively young space there are plenty of experts who have made and learnt from mistakes. As the window for innovation closes, rather focus on your core competencies and leave the development work to the experts.

While the focus above has been on the internal (staff) side, these concepts apply equally to external (consumer) apps. Don’t make the mistake of only focusing externally or internally. Regardless of where you begin, both areas of your business should be mobilised. Often companies create a consumer facing app and ignore their internal needs or, worse, forget to educate and empower their staff to support the app. Apps never sleep and neither can the services surrounding them. Building the killer app for your business shouldn’t be such a daunting task, your core business processes are a great place to start, those which are measureable and with the right app will have a positive impact on the bottom line.

2014 – The breakout year for Wi-Fi says Ruckus Wireless

By admin, 14 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

Wi-Fi predictions for Africa, the enterprise and service providers

Global public Wi-Fi hotspot numbers are set to grow from 1.3 million in 2011, to 5.8 million by 2015*, marking a 350% increase and it’s easy to see why the numbers are growing exponentially. By 2014, Thailand will see more than 400,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots nationwide, Greece plans to implement a Wi-Fi cloud and give everybody in the country free Internet access – free Wi-Fi for all in 2014 – and of course, if you look at the local and African initiatives such as free Wi-Fi in Rwanda’s Kigali and the City of Tshwane – not to mention Google’s Project Link to bring faster connectivity to Africa – 2014 is set to be a watershed year for Wi-Fi.

“Mobile data growth is a key factor here, where it is estimated that 1.9 billion Wi-Fi devices will hit the networks next year and global mobile data traffic is expected to reach 16.84 million terabytes by 2014,” says Michael Fletcher, sales director for Ruckus Wireless sub-Saharan Africa. “Ultimately, consumers are looking for access and Wi-Fi has proven to be the solution that works. As a result, it is a growing industry and finally the promise of what Wi-Fi can provide are coming to the fore as consumers, enterprises and operators alike become more aware of the possibilities that this spectrum provides.”

Looking into 2014, Ruckus Wireless, Inc. (NYSE: RKUS), believes the state of the Wi-Fi industry continues to look great, and here’s what the company thinks we’re likely to see globally and in Africa.

Predictions for Wi-Fi overall in Africa:

  • We are likely to see a lot more free Wi-Fi across the regions – and being used in different ways. Many are trying to do it but they are going to find that it is not easy to get it right with inadequate equipment. Offering free Wi-Fi but not being able to connect can cause more damage than not offering it at all.
  • The industry needs to be cautious of throwing the words ‘carrier-grade’ Wi-Fi around – as true carrier-grade equipment results in a high consumer experience and not all supposed ‘carrier-grades’ are equal.
  • As a result we are likely to see more consolidation in this space – it makes sense to make Wi-Fi work.
  • Wi-Fi in shopping malls will become more common and in the hospitality sector we are likely to see the rise of the premium service where basic Wi-Fi will be free and if customers want additions they will pay extra for this.
  • Lastly 2014 will hail the first true 3G offload to Wi-Fi in Africa – with many countries including the likes of South Africa and Kenya looking at this as a viable option. However, it wouldn’t be surprising if a smaller carrier takes the lead here ahead of the big industry players.

Predictions for Wi-Fi in the Enterprise (WLAN)

  • Cloud solutions for Wi-Fi management and services will continue to provide ‘out of reach’ enterprise technology for the SME.
  • Wi-Fi based location analytics will play a bigger role for organisations to increase business intelligence, define security policy, and improve customer/user Wi-Fi experience.
  • Analytics will become more important, specifically to correlate the myriad data points from clients (locations, apps, device type, trending, etc.).
  • We’ll see a continuation of adoption and integration of BYOD solutions and device management.
  • Hotspot 2.0 will get traction in the Enterprise as another means to provide Wi-Fi access as Passpoint-certified/ready smartphones make their way into the marketplace.
  • Social media (Facebook, Google+) as user log-in credentials for Wi-Fi will be pervasive amongst organisations providing guest access.
  • 802.11ac Access Point (AP) adoption will increase, mainly driven by more 802.11ac-enabled devices, and as vendors release lower cost 2×2 802.11ac APs.

Predictions for Wi-Fi for Carriers/Service Providers

  • Large scale Hotspot 2.0 roaming consortiums will become a reality.  They will allow automatic and secure connectivity to Wi-Fi networks with tens of thousands of roaming partners and millions of APs.  Most of these partners will consist of public venues that have extensive indoor Wi-Fi deployments.
  • Enterprises continue to look to service providers for a managed Wi-Fi service to address issues with network complexity, new services, and a skills shortage in many IT shops.
  • Location based services will become a profitable piece of the enterprise managed services opportunity.
  • Seamless Wi-Fi handoff will become a reality with technologies like 802.11r and 802.11k making their way into mobile devices and APs.  No longer will smartphones try to cling to the AP that they associated with even as the user moves into another coverage area.  This will allow Wi-Fi to emulate the seamless handoff experience that we all enjoy with cellular services.
  • Multi-system Operators worldwide will continue to aggressively embrace Wi-Fi technology as a way to fend off over-builders, add to their service package, and grab the best locations. This will also set the stage for roaming relationships with MNOs in the future.
  • Work continues on the convergence of Wi-Fi and LTE small cells, but small cells are unlikely to emerge in large numbers before 2015.
  • Carrier class Wi-Fi management systems start to catch up to carrier class Wi-Fi network infrastructure.
  • Work will continue on policy solutions that will help smartphones to select between Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity.  This is a complex issue, and one that will not be resolved for several more years.
  • 802.11ac continues to make inroads, with the really compelling step forward coming with multi-user MIMO in Wave 2.  This will allow access points to talk with as many as 4 single stream smartphones at the same time.

“No matter how much network capacity is put in place through a combination of cellular and Wi-Fi, it will never be enough. More spectrum and spectrum sharing ideas are required, along with ever greater network densification,” concludes Fletcher. “However, what is clear is that Wi-Fi certainly has its place and 2014 will be the year Wi-Fi takes its rightful position in the industry.”

 

 

Cloud computing and disaster recovery – compliance, cost savings the biggest drivers

By admin, 14 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

One of the most significant advantages of cloud computing is the way in which it changes disaster recovery (DR), making it more cost-effective and lowering the bar for enterprises to deploy comprehensive DR plans for their entire IT infrastructure.

This is according to Graham Vorster, Head of Emerging Technologies and Alliances at T-Systems in South Africa, the local representatives of global organisation T-Systems that specialises in helping businesses move to the cloud.

“Depending on the implementation of the source systems, DR into the Cloud can be as easy as replicating log files onto a database instance with low processing capability, which scales up in the event of a disaster. More complex solutions do require more work, but most requirements can be satisfied,” says Vorster.

“Our solutions inherently offer DR options, and clients can choose to either utilise synchronised DR within the whole cloud, or opt for high availability. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and other entire company systems are mirrored in the cloud for enhanced redundancy and recovery capability,” says Vorster.

“One of our latest offerings is a dynamic services infrastructure, as opposed dynamic computer services, which is mainly aimed at our highly standardised services such as ERP. I am tremendously excited about the opportunities we have here in South Africa and I do see major growth in that,” he adds.

With regard to the adoption of cloud services in South Africa, Vorster cites the challenges of data availability, bandwidth issues and the high cost of data as major issues. That said, this situation is currently resolving, with many initiatives in place to deliver more available, more affordable bandwidth. One example is the Metro Ethernet, available in major centres and capable of delivering high bandwidth at relatively low cost. The cloud is becoming increasingly viable and is beginning to make solid business sense for customers.

Despite barriers to entry being steadily removed, Vorster believes some customers are going to take years to get into the cloud because of their own infrastructure issues. However, the need to incorporate good governance and compliance is driving the push for cloud computing and disaster recovery management.

“For auditors, having tape-based backup simply is no longer sufficient. These backups are time consuming at best, meaning that in the event of a disaster companies could take weeks to get back up and running. In today’s fast-paced business world this could mean that they never fully recover, and fail completely. Tape-based backup does not deliver the comprehensive data recovery strategy that cloud solutions are able to,” says Vorster.

Bringing DR strategies in-house also represents a significant cost for companies, as they often do not have adequate data centre infrastructure, and building this infrastructure is sometimes not financially viable. While organisations need to include DR into their backup strategy, cost reduction and flexibility are also an issue. In light of these challenges, the need for DR is practically forcing companies to look at cloud computing as an option.

“Incorporating DR as part of a cloud initiative has several other benefits as well. Cloud solutions have a very small footprint, particularly in terms of power usage, and the processing required in a shared environment means that organisations do not require a vast amount of infrastructure. The bonus of course is that you only pay for what you use, offering enhanced flexibility and scalability to grow with the organisation as needs require. This is a model that most companies find very attractive in these tough economic times. While organisations in South Africa may have been slow to adopt cloud services, in the long run, DR in the cloud is going to be a very cost effective way of reaching compliance and governance goals,” Vorster concludes.

Protecting multiple mobile devices is essential in a mobile world

By admin, 14 stycznia, 2014, No Comment

By Fred Mitchell, Symantec Division Manager, Drive Control Corporation

Mobility has opened countless possibilities for the workforce within any organisation. Working while on the move from a mobile device such as a tablet, Smartphone or laptop, increases productivity and delivers the convenience of working from any location. Working with multiple devices is a new wave in mobility with many users opting to use a combination of different devices depending on their location and requirements.

However, as this trend gains traction, a new challenge has emerged – protecting multiple devices that use a variety of Operating Systems (OS), protocols and platforms. Security is essential when mobile devices are used for business purposes, as viruses, data loss and corporate security breaches are a reality that needs to be addressed. Ensuring users and organisations do not fall foul of malware and cyber crime on any device requires sophisticated multi-device protection that works across OS’s and different devices to safeguard personal data and mitigate the risk of cyber threats.

According to the 2013 Norton report, consumers are more mobile than ever, however, security on these mobile devices has lagged behind. Despite the fact that 63% of those surveyed own Smartphones and 30% own tablets, almost half of respondents admit to failing to take basic precautions such as using passwords, having security software or backing up files on their mobile device. In addition, nearly half of the respondents report using their personal devices for work-related activities. This creates new security risks for enterprises, as cybercriminals have the potential to access even more valuable information, and the more devices we use, the greater this threat becomes.
In addition to this, South Africa has one of the highest rates of cybercrime, with 73% of respondents indicating that they have been a victim at some stage in their lives, while 63% of mobile users claim the same. In a world where cybercrime continues to be a growing global concern, with a direct cost estimated at $113 billion around the world, the need for security on mobile devices across platforms is clear.

While there are solutions available for protecting mobile devices, they often require purchasing of different software for each different device and OS, with multiple license keys and increased admin when it comes to remembering to renew licenses. As shown by the Norton report, mobile users are not security savvy, and as a result security needs to be simple, easy to use and provide all of the functionality necessary to ensure protection from a wide variety of threats.

New tools for multi-device security offer powerful protection for Windows, iOS, Android, iPhone and iPad in a single, straightforward solution that enables users to safely take advantage of a connected life on multiple devices, no matter which devices you use. By protecting users against viruses, unsafe websites, bad files, phishing scams, spyware, social network threats and hard to remove infections, multi-device protection can guard against online identity theft and data loss. These tools also offer backup of files stored on PC or Mac, and allow you to remotely lock and locate a stolen or lost mobile device as well as remotely erase information, documents and personal details from mobile devices to ensure confidential and sensitive information is not compromised.

Sophisticated multi-device protection offers a single, integrated solution that protects users from threats as well as mobile devices from loss, quickly and accurately detecting and eliminating almost any threat before it can reach the device. By seamlessly uniting powerful protection across a range of devices into a single, easy to use solution, there is no longer any need to purchase multiple security solutions for each different device. Multi-device protection means there is simply no longer an excuse not to protect all devices from the multitude of threats that exist today.

Mobile devices like Smartphones and tablets can often be the cause of leaked data, identity theft and corporate security breaches, amongst other issues. Ultimately, these devices are computers, and should be treated with the same care and caution as you would your desktop or notebook. Password protection along with sophisticated multi-device security can help to safeguard users from a variety of threats and help to keep the connected world safe from cybercrime and identity theft.

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